Teaching Tactics

Teaching TacticsLearning is fun… Right? Well, that is what we try and tell our students and constantly remind ourselves. But the truth is that learning really IS fun, it all comes down to how that learning is delivered. Whether you are using cutting edge technology or classic teaching tactics, it essential that students not only learn practical skills, but are inspired to become curious and inquisitive learners themselves.

Great teachers are masters of this delivery. They can find and communicate the fascination and wonder in any topic. Using their own unique skills, personal talents and strong beliefs, they can bring even the dullest subjects to life. So what are the tactics and tools that great teachers are using? And what can you do to inspire and engage the minds of your young learners? Here are 4 teaching tactics that some of the best teachers in and out of the classroom are using to make education a treat instead of a chore.

4 Teaching Tactics

Misconceptions – Derek Muller

Completing his PhD thesis on “Designing Effective Multimedia for Physics Education“, Derek Muller is the charismatic host of the Veritasium Video Blog. Featured in our post, “5 Hilariously Fascinating Science Videos From Derek Muller“, Derek has refined engagement and understanding to a fine art. His video content revolves around the very simple idea of breaking down misconceptions. Verified by his PhD research, Derek reveals that it is often what students wrongly believe that debilitates the learning process.

Teaching Tactic #1 – Ensure to consider the misconceptions that students may already have on a certain topic. This does not mean to over-complicate or confuse the issue, but do think about the common mistakes surrounding the subject. Not only does this create stronger foundations to build future learning on, but students will be more engaged by having their prior knowledge questioned rather than just being fed facts.


Gamification – Gabe Zichermann

Is it that children have ADD, or is our world just too freakin’ slow for our children to appreciate?“. The words of renowned and respected Gamification expert Gabe Zichermann in regards to video games in education. In his TED talk below, Gabe discussed both the cognitive benefits of video games on learning, as well as the opportunities to gamify real world experiences. It is inspiring and often very amusing to see how game methodologies are being used in what would normally be considered very mundane industries and tasks. These are the same game mechanics that can be used to turn stagnant class work into engaging and fun learning.

Teaching Tactic #2 – Gamification does not just mean using video games in education. Try taking a gamified approach to teaching, assessing and rewarding your class. This can take a number of forms as discussed in a recent post “3 Easy Ways To Gamify Your Classroom“. Try reverse engineering the gamification process. Rather than looking at what games could be applied to certain class tasks, consider games your students enjoy and try to integrate learning into the game mechanics.


Multimedia – Matthew Weathers

It goes without saying that using multimedia to engage students is a proven way to enhance learning and maintain class focus. But, with the explosion of devices, apps and web services multimedia now means a lot more than just putting a DVD in the player. In the below video, extremely creative lecturer Matthew Weathers, shows that the key to using media in teaching is to integrate it in new and innovative ways.

Teaching Tactic #3 – Use more than just images, video and audio to engage your class. Try interesting and engaging tools such as Prezi, Animoto and SlideRocket to present material. Not only will this keep students enthused in learning, but you will also find yourself learning a lot along the way.


Interaction – John Hunter

Truly one of the most inspiring educational TED talks, teacher John Hunter discusses his ‘World Peace Game’. By building a game based around interaction, John has watched students learn and develop important technical, theoretical, academic and social skills. Using interaction in the classroom is essential to balanced and well rounded learning. This includes and is certainly not limited to interaction with the teacher, interaction with the environment, interaction with technology and interaction with peers.

Teaching Tactic #4 – As John Hunter describes, try taking a step back. Let your class follow their own thoughts and let them learn by discovery and curiosity.


So what would be your number one teaching tactic? Is there anything here that you have had particular success with? Or is there anything that you have seen fail spectacularly?

Drop a comment and let us know what you are doing to put the spark into your classes.


Image courtesy of Flickr, idovermani

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